How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Jacksons Gap 36861
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Jacksons Gap AL is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider also, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Jacksons Gap dental office and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Alabama dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alabama dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Jacksons Gap dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alabama practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alabama junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Jacksons Gap area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Jacksons Gap home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental school is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Jacksons Gap area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives also. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Alabama programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Jacksons Gap area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Jacksons Gap area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of Jacksons Gap area dental colleges have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Jacksons Gap dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges require help getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Alabama colleges you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 36861 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Jacksons Gap in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Ideal Dental School near Jacksons Gap ALPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.